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[FILM] Tony Ching Siu-Tung's "Action" in Zhang Yimou's "Curses"

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  • madchinaman
    High-wire act raises the bar in fight scenes By Sheigh Crabtree, Special to The Times http://www.calendarlive.com/printedition/calendar/suncal/cl-ca-
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 18, 2006
      High-wire act raises the bar in fight scenes
      By Sheigh Crabtree, Special to The Times
      http://www.calendarlive.com/printedition/calendar/suncal/cl-ca-
      goldenflower17dec17,0,1283510.story?coll=cl-suncal


      THANKS to his longtime partnership with Hong Kong action director
      Tony Ching Siu-Tung, Zhang Yimou's films often showcase jaw-dropping
      airborne stunt choreography. Using a combination of kung fu and wire
      work, known as "wire fu," in 2003's "Hero," actors sailed over
      Chinese landscapes in fluttering robes; in 2004's "House of Flying
      Daggers," police and military threw mid-air punches and kicks high
      above open fields and bamboo groves.

      In their latest movie, "Curse of the Golden Flower," the filmmakers
      raise the wire-fu bar again.

      Until now, a typical scene using wire fu included a maximum of 10 to
      15 martial artists dangling from wires hoisted on cranes up to 70
      feet off the ground. But for a fight scene in "Curse," featuring
      masked swordsmen battling an escaping family on horses in a narrow,
      remote valley in the Szechwan province, Yimou and Siu-Tung doubled
      prior wire-fu records, hoisting 30 martial artists on wires more than
      600 feet long.

      The location took four months to prep; wires had to be secured in
      sheer rock faces because the valley was too steep and narrow to
      accommodate cranes. More than 200 wire riggers recruited from the
      Chinese army rappelled down to the middle of the cliffs with electric
      drills and secured three positions for every wire in the crumbling
      rock face. Once the scene was set it took 15 days to shoot the action
      with up to five cameras, averaging 10 to 20 takes per shot.

      Yimou even brought in a remote-controlled helicopter camera to film
      the fight scenes. Siu-Tung's exceptional work has not only won the
      recognition of his peers; the government recently named him one of
      the top martial arts directors in Hong Kong.
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